‘Textures of Time’ exhibits Anthony Carrasco’s view of the desert underfoot

“West Nations” by Anthony Carrasco, ceramic, 2021. Photo by Anthony Carrasco

ALPINE – In his ceramic creations, Sul Ross fine arts student Anthony Carrasco is telling a story of the Chihuahuan Desert floor. His senior capstone project, Textures of Time, draws inspiration from his hometown of Presidio and translates it into ceramic forms, including through his textural “dirt tiles,” on view now at Sul Ross’ Francois Art Gallery.

Living in the desert for 23 years, Carrasco said he spent a lot of time walking around Presidio. He observed the landscape, the neighborhoods, the local pottery and, he said, it wasn’t long before his gaze shifted to the ground. 

“I’ve always liked looking at the floor – it’s something I never admitted,” he said. Underfoot, he observed that the ground is always changing and always uneven. “I see the ground and see how many years that process took to make those textures,” he said. Before long, he was pulling out his camera to capture the way the land was shifting.

“I create these things called dirt tiles, they’re large slab tiles,” he explained. “I look at the textures on the floor and try to recreate it with my emotions and painting skills.”

He prints the image and sketches it, using two-dimensional art skills he picked up when he was drawing and painting at home and through his years at Presidio schools. “I’ve painted since I was a little kid. Pottery was something I wanted to experiment with, but I never had the resources to do that,” he said. But in college, the new medium excited him.

From his drawings, Carrasco uses clay to recreate the forms he observed outdoors. He channels his emotional connection to the area into the artistic process, “banging the clay with my hands, using the floor, throwing it, trying to recreate as much texture as I can.”

While millions of years have shifted, eroded and formed the land here, Carrasco is also interested in the newer changes he’s seen in Presidio. “Through revisiting areas I used to walk around, I see a lot of things that weren’t there,” he said, mentioning the return of the train rails and the growing number of new businesses that have opened since he moved to Alpine for school.

“I also see that there’s a lot more activities going on outside – bike riding, walking, baseball, softball – that’s a lot of stuff I never got to see when I was there.” The city’s new pavement walking paths mean Carrasco is seeing “so many people walking through the ground,” another shift worth observing in his art.

The young artist said he never realized how much of a connection his hometown, the changes and simply looking down to observe had to his art, and with “everything I do,” he said, but in Textures of Time it all comes together.

The exhibition is open through April 9 at the Francois Art Gallery from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Studio Gallery Room 102, and his work can be purchased at the gallery.